Birth Control - Types

What type of birth control do you use and why?

Share your story with others:

MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.Patient Comments FAQs

Enter your Comment

Tell us a bit about your background to make your comments more useful to other MedicineNet users. (Optional)

Screen Name: *

Gender of Patient: Male Female

Age Range of Patient:

I am a: Patient Caregiver

* Screen Name will appear next to the published comment. Please do not include your full name or email address.

By submitting your comment, and other materials (collectively referred to as a "Submission") to MedicineNet, you grant MedicineNet permission to use, copy, transmit, publish, display, edit and modify your Submission in connection with its Web site. MedicineNet will not pay you for your Submission. You represent that you have all rights necessary for MedicineNet to use your Submission as set forth above.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when writing your comment:

  • Please make sure you address the question asked.
  • Due to the overwhelming number of comments received, not all comments will be published.
  • When selecting comments to publish, our staff will choose those that are educational and complement the topic. Please try to stay on topic.
  • Your comment may be edited. We would typically edit comments to make them clearer and more readable. We will remove personal information such as last names, email and web addresses, and other potentially harmful information.
  • We will not notify you if your comment has been published. We suggest that you check back on the topic article regularly.
  • We do not provide medical or healthcare advice, treatment, or diagnosis.

Thank you for participating!

I have read and agree to abide by the MedicineNet Terms and Conditions and the MedicineNet Privacy Policy (required).

To prevent our systems from spam, please complete the following prior to submitting your comment.

Please select the white circle:

Introduction to birth control types and options

If a woman is sexually active and fertile (physically able to become pregnant) she needs to ask herself, "Do I want to become pregnant now?" If her answer is "No," she must use a method of birth control (contraception).

If a woman does not want to get pregnant at this point in her life, does she plan to become pregnant in the future? Soon? Much later? Never? Her answers to such questions can determine what birth control method she and her male sexual partner use now and in the future.

Birth control can be described a number of ways. Terms include contraception, pregnancy prevention, fertility control, and family planning. However, no matter what the practice is called, sexually active people can choose from various methods to reduce the possibility of their becoming pregnant. Nevertheless, no method of birth control available today offers perfect protection against sexually transmitted infections in women, and sexually transmitted infections in men (sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs), except abstinence.

About one in two pregnancies in America are unplanned. That is, more than three million of the 6.4 million pregnancies annually are unplanned. Moreover, about two thirds of unplanned pregnancies - two million - are unwanted..

Half of these unplanned pregnancies happen because a couple does not use any birth control, and the remainder occur because the couple uses birth control, but not correctly.

In simple terms, all birth control methods are based on either preventing a man's sperm from reaching and entering a woman's egg (fertilization) or preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman's uterus (her womb) and starting to grow.

Birth control methods can be reversible or permanent. Reversible birth control means that the method can be stopped at essentially any time without long-term effects on fertility (the ability to become pregnant). Permanent birth control usually means that the method cannot be undone or reversed, most likely because it involved surgery. Permanent methods include vasectomy for the man or tubal ligation for the woman.

Birth control methods can also be classified according to whether they are a barrier method (for example, a condom) that blocks sperm, a mechanical method (for example, an intrauterine device [IUD]), or a hormonal method (for example, the "pill").

"Natural" methods do not rely on devices or hormones but on observing some aspect of a woman's body physiology in order to prevent fertilization.

Direct responsibility for most of the birth control methods currently available rests with the woman. Health care professional input and advice may sometimes be essential in choosing appropriate birth control. New methods of birth control are being developed and tested all the time. What is appropriate for a couple at one point may change with time and circumstances.

Unfortunately, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective. Teaching youth that it is okay to say "no" to sex until they are ready can help when it comes to curbing the numbers of teen pregnancies.

Return to Birth Control (Types and Options)

See what others are saying

Comment from: sham, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: August 05

I take the pill because my period has always been extremely irregular, long, and heavy. I started on it for acne reasons when I was younger and I kept it for contraceptive reasons later on. Even if I am using condoms, I could not live without the pill. It has its disadvantages, such as having to remember to take it every day at the same time (which does not always happen, I guarantee), but I just could not go back to living at the mercy of my crazy rebellious period.

Was this comment helpful?Yes


Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!